Fifty years ago: A late miss by New Zealand lets the Socceroos off the hook

Fifty years ago, New Zealand faced a crucial hurdle in their efforts to reach the 1974 FIFA World Cup in West Germany when they hosted Australia in a qualifying game at Auckland’s Newmarket Park.

Australia were favourites to win a qualifying group that included Iraq, Indonesia and the New Zealanders.

Main photo: The 1973 New Zealand squad.

On March 4, 1973, New Zealand and Australia played before 12,000 spectators at Newmarket Park, then considered the country’s ‘home of football’.

Brian Turner gave New Zealand the lead after 57 minutes and as the game clock counted down, an upset win looked possible.

However, Australian substitute Ernie Campbell found an equaliser in the 85th minute.

New Zealand brought striker Geoff Brand, a policeman who played national league for Stop Out, off the subs’ bench, using him as a target for a late onslaught.

It almost paid off with Brand lunging at a cross in stoppage time and just failing to make contact with an open goal seemingly at his mercy.

So close … Brand gets a chance to score the winner in added time. Photo: Dave Barker, NZ Truth.

As it turned out, New Zealand finished bottom of the four-nation group and Australia moved forward in the qualification process, eventually earning their first ever berth at a World Cup finals tournament.


Game played on Sunday March 4, 1973

New Zealand 1 (Brian Turner 57′)
Australia 1 (Ernie Campbell 85′)


New Zealand

Kevin Curtin, Maurice Tillotson, Colin Latimour, John Staines (captain), Ron Armstrong, Brian Turner, Alan Vest, Dennis Tindall (Brian Armstrong 77′), David Taylor, Alan Marley (Geoff Brand 85′), Malcolm Bland.

Coach: Barrie Truman


Ron Corry, Doug Utjesenovic, Peter Wilson, Manfred Schaefer, Bobby Hogg, Ray Richards, John Warren (Atti Abonyi 77′), Ray Baartz, Adrian Alston, Max Tolson (Ernie Campbell 67′), Branko Buljevic.

Coach: Rale Rasic


Lak Tat Sun (Hong Kong)

Match programme

Click on image below to open and read the match programme which has been converted to a digital format by Friends of Football:

READ MORE: Memories of Newmarket Park, Auckland’s former ‘Home of Football’ >>>>

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